Electric adjustment for the front seats is available, and the sports seats we’ve so far experienced are both comfortable and supportive under moderately hard cornering. Unfortunately we’re yet to try the standard seats, but it’s a shame that adjustable lumbar support is only offered as part of the expensive electric seat and memory pack upgrade.
The spring-loaded backrest is also tricky to adjust in small increments, and the release lever is awkwardly placed.
The steering wheel has both reach and rake adjustment that, in combination with the seat, allows both very tall and very short drivers to get comfortable. The dials are attached to the steering column, which makes them easy to read, and a head-up display is optional. The toggle switches in the centre of the dash look good, but are partially obscured by the gearlever.
Mini Countryman visibility
Although Mini calls the Countryman its SUV, it feels much more like a conventional hatchback from behind the wheel. It might have slightly raised ground clearance and a tall roof, but Atecas and Qashqais tower over you.
Forward visibility is pretty good though, with that tall screen and the bulbous, rounded headlights making it easy to see how far the edges of the car extend outwards. Thick pillars front and back make it tricky to see over your shoulder when approaching junctions though, and the small rear windows mean it can feel a little dark for those in the rear.
Mini Countryman infotainment
All versions of the Countryman get a DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB audio connection and sat-nav. While a fairly small 6.5in colour screen is standard, there is the option of a super-widescreen 8.8in touchscreen with a sharper display. Both also get a rotary dial between the seats that makes controlling the infotainment easy.
If that sounds like BMW’s iDrive system, that’s because it is. That means easy to navigate menus and clear graphics.
The top spec system is certainly a good one with plenty of online functionality, but it’s an expensive option. You can also spec upgraded Bluetooth that can handle two devices at once, and also a beefier stereo.
Mini Countryman build quality
The old Countryman’s build quality failed to impress, despite premium pricing. Things are much better in the new car; there are far more soft touch plastics around the dashboard, the tops of the doors and the other areas you’ll interact with regularly. Move further down, and you will find harder, scratchier plastics, but for the most part they aren’t too noticeable.
The Countryman retains Mini’s trademark toggle switches in the centre of the dash. These feel impressively solid and like they’re actually made of metal. The other switches aren’t quite as industrial, but they do click with a pleasing precision.